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I Would Prefer Not To · FiM Minific ·
Organised by RogerDodger
Word limit 400–750
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“I’d really rather not, your Highness,” said Tempest.

Flurry Heart frowned so hard that her snout wrinkled.

“Well, why not?” said the young princess. She punctuated the statement with an aggressive little sip from her teacup. Something she probably picked up from her aunt.

Tempest shifted her weight, and her armor’s plates clacked against each other.

“I’m not a ‘party pony’, your Highness,” said Tempest, diplomatically.

“But it’s your birthday, Tempest!” said Flurry. Her eyes became wide and pleading. “You enjoyed my party, didn’t you? Remember?”

Tempest certainly remembered Flurry’s fourteenth birthday party. She remembered that she spent weeks vetting the two-hundred-odd attendees. She remembered that she requested additional guardsponies from the Crystal Guard to bolster her own dozen-strong force. She remembered that she spent the whole night never more than twenty paces from the birthday girl.

And she also remembered that Flurry had a wonderful time.

“Your party,” said Tempest, as she lifted her own teacup to her lips, “was a work assignment for me.”

Flurry crossed her forelegs, and her frown returned.

“So I’m just a job to you? A ‘pony of interest’ for you and your operators to look after?”

The pang of guilt hit Tempest midway through a gulp of tea. She carefully put the teacup down.

“Of course not,” she said, sincerely. “I was glad that you had fun. You know you mean a great deal to me. Your Highness.”

“Call me ‘Flurry’,” said Flurry. At this point, it was just a familiar reflex. Both of them ignored it.

The two of them stewed in the silence for a moment, Flurry fidgeting.

“I care about you too, Tempest,” said Flurry. “So, I want you to have fun, too! Don’t you at least have the day off?”

“I didn’t request one, your Highness.”

CallmeFlurry, but shouldn’t you get to see your friends? Wouldn’t it be nice to see Zecora again? She hasn’t been up here for a while!”

“We send letters,” said Tempest. In fact, there was one such letter on her desk in her quarters at that very moment—a dozen pages of poetic script. Writing back was something Tempest was looking forward to, tonight.

“That’s… arg! That’s not the point!” Flurry shoved her face into her hooves.

She looked fairly miffed, Tempest decided.

“You should be celebrating!” said Flurry. “It’s your special day! Everyone in the Empire should attend!”

Tempest winced.

“Flurry,” she said, “It’s… natural that someone like you would enjoy being with a lot of ponies. You’ve always loved meeting new ponies and making more friends. But I’m… not like you.”

Flurry wrinkled her snout at Tempest.

“Don’t be ridiculous; everypony likes being with their friends!”

“I’m not saying I don’t love my friends. I love all of them, including you,” said Tempest, matter-of-factly.

Flurry blushed the tiniest bit in embarrassment.

“But parties are… a lot of work for me, even when I’m not on duty.” Tempest continued. “I also get tired, emotionally, faster than you do. If there were a hundred ponies at my birthday party, I’d be ready to go to bed after meeting them all, let alone doing anything else with them.”

“But… why?” said Flurry, pleadingly.

Tempest shrugged.

“That’s just the way some ponies are built. Your aunt knows more about it than I do.”

Flurry slumped, defeated for the moment. But Tempest could tell that she was still thinking—still plotting. Tempest sipped her tea and let Flurry take her time.

Finally, a minute or two later, Flurry’s wings started twitching expectantly.

“But… you’ll be okay with just one or two ponies?” she said.

“Yes, that’s just fine,” Tempest said.

“And you won’t get tired of that? Even all day?” Flurry asked, leaning ever-more-slightly forward.

“I don’t think I would,” said Tempest, truthfully.

Flurry gleefully sprung her trap the moment the words left Tempest’s mouth.

“Then, you will take the week of your birthday off and go to Ponyville to visit Zecora.”

Before Tempest could say another word, Flurry cut her off.

“And that’s an order!” She smiled toothily. “I can make those now; dad says I’m old enough.”

Tempest closed her eyes and actually thought about it for a minute. She’d have to swap her soldiers’ duty schedules around a bit, but it could work. Major Glintstone would naturally take command, and she was an extremely competent CO.

“Okay,” she said, with a bow of her head. “I’ll see your wishes carried out, your Highness.”

“Call me ‘Flurry’,” said Flurry, smiling and settling back down into her seat.
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#1 ·
I do tend to enjoy these sorts of "two characters having a discussion" stories. I like the implication the scenario has for Tempest's character growth, and older Flurry is always fun for me as well.

I think it's worth mentioning that I also kinda had pacing problems with this one, too. Like in "Performance", this one's ending feels a little rushed, but since this story isn't actually going for ambiguity in its theme, the problem feels a little more pronounced. It definitely feels like you're pushing up to the word limit, here.

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